Crispy-Skin Salmon with Napa Cabbage
Does the thought of cooking fish at home freak you out? We got you. This method guarantees that the salmon comes out perfectly cooked with crispy skin. Use the same technique with any skin-on fish fillets for great results every time.
Author: The Chef
Recipe type: Main dish
- 1 small head of Napa cabbage
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 2-inch knob ginger
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1½ teaspoons cornstarch
- 4 6-ounce skin-on salmon fillets
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- Starting at leafy green end of Napa cabbage, slice about one-third of head crosswise into ½”-thick ribbons. Set darker green pieces aside. Thinly slice remaining pale-green and white parts of cabbage crosswise and transfer to a medium bowl (discard cabbage core).
- Smash 5 garlic cloves and discard peel.
- Scrape down and around ginger with the curved tip of a spoon to remove skin, then thinly slice ginger crosswise.
- Stir 2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar, 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. honey, and 1½ tsp. cornstarch in a small bowl with a spoon until cornstarch is dissolved.
- Thoroughly pat dry 4 salmon fillets with paper towels. Season flesh side with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil across surface of a large skillet, preferably cast iron. Arrange salmon fillets skin side down in skillet, spacing evenly apart. Heat skillet over medium (yes, you’re starting the cooking from cold).
- Cook salmon, occasionally sliding a flexible metal spatula underneath skin to lift fillets and let fresh hot fat flow underneath (if the skin is sticking, let it cook longer until skin releases), until flesh is opaque all the way up the sides of each fillet and only the top of thickest part is still translucent, 5–10 minutes. It will take more or less time depending on thickness of your salmon fillets. As fish is cooking, move pieces around pan to encourage even cooking.
- Using spatula and a pair of tongs, carefully turn each fillet so skin side is up. Turn off heat and let heat remaining in skillet gently cook second side. Once fillets have stopped sizzling, carefully transfer to a plate.
- Return pan to medium-high heat and add half of cabbage from bowl. Cook, tossing occasionally with tongs, until cabbage is wilted and browned and even charred in some spots, about 5 minutes. Toss in remaining cabbage from bowl and cook, stirring often, until second batch is tender, about 4 minutes.
- Scrape cabbage mixture back into bowl and add remaining 1 Tbsp. oil. Add garlic and ginger to pan and cook, tossing often, until garlic is browned all over and ginger is browned around the edges, about 3 minutes.
- Stir soy mixture to re-incorporate cornstarch and add to skillet. Stir rapidly until mixture is thickened, which will only take a few seconds, then remove from heat.
- Add cooked cabbage and uncooked green cabbage back to skillet and toss well to coat.
- Arrange salmon fillets over of cabbage and serve.